Robert Putnam Our Kids Analysis

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In his final chapter of Our Kids, Robert Putnam poses the following question: “But why should the opportunity gap matter for those of us on its lucky side?” It turns out, the lack of success of the poor, young Americans has vast implications on the countries overall health, especially in regards to our economy and democracy, as well as our morals. In underinvesting in the poorer kids, we are wasting a large fraction of our “opportunity costs.” Due to globalization and the innovations in technology, less educated individuals are in less of a demand, so we have masses of unemployed, illiterate citizens, who tend to increase crime rates and health expenditures. In result, these people not only fail to contribute to the national economy, but become …show more content…
Just like a hundred years ago with the Gilded Age and social darwinism, the book “How the Other Half Lives” was published so the haves could be exposed to the social injustice occuring in the nation. In response, public high schools were created, profoundly affecting the economic success that followed in the next couple of decades. Personally, I think money is unavoidable to fix the problem. We need a remobilization of grassroot movements and to reinvest in social programs, and this requires economic and social capital. It will be expensive and how we will go about getting the funding for this will be a hot topic for debate due to Americans resentment of taxes, but as James Heckman states in this chapter, these types of investments yield real rates of returns. To save taxes, we could reduce prison sentences, like he suggests, for nonviolent prisoners, and protect anti-poverty programs, both of which do not require money to instate. I think the “marriage policy” is unrealistic because there is no systematic way to go about re- institutionalizing marriage; likewise, we cannot reduce birth rates through encouraging contraception because birth control isn’t even legal for many religions in the United States, so the secular government encouraging this could be seen as an infraction of our freedom of religion. Changing norms is close to impossible anyways, so I see money as the way out. Expanding the EITC, mandating maternity, as well as paternity leave, and creating a social program to make high-quality daycare more accessible would be a good place to start. I say paternity leave as well because is only women got leave to raise the children, these stereotypes would be perpetuated and women would have even more

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